Visitors to Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper all want to know one thing:
The exhibition tour began over a year ago, when the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, one of our co-organizers, received the works, flown in from Isabelle’s studio in Brussels. About the same time, here at the Frick, we were carefully packing both the Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency Princess of Condé oil painting and the paper costume we had commissioned Isabelle de Borchgrave to create, preparing them to be trucked to Memphis. To ensure their safe travel, I served as art courier, and also rode the truck to Memphis.
Art handlers secure a stabilizing support in travel crate
Crate packed, and ready to be sealed for travel
When I arrived at the Dixon and saw the crates, I knew we had some serious planning to do.
Panorama of exhibition crates in the Dixon’s galleries
Over the last year, I have travelled to each tour venue with the Frick’s artworks, and at each museum I took note of the challenges of moving this exhibition, when I returned to Pittsburgh, I began to take a new interest in The Frick Art Museum doorways.
Art handlers at The Society of the Four Arts move an exhibition crate through the front door of the Esther B. O’Keefe Building
In the weeks leading up to the exhibition being delivered to the Frick, I double-checked every doorway measurement and created a model of the museum and each crate, to ensure a smooth move-in.
Crate plan for The Frick Art Museum
We knew the crate for Lady in Blue would to be too wide to fit through our widest door, and made a plan to remove its interior box outside, and then bring the inner box into the receiving area. Other crates were stored in our temporary galleries.
Crate for Lady in Blue opened to remove inner box
Exhibition crates stored in the temporary gallery
Then, we got to work, unpacking and installing the artwork.
Art handlers prepare to remove Poiret Evening Gown from interior box
Unpacking Robe à la Polonaise from travel crate
Art handlers open the crate containing Maria-Maddalena d’Austria
After the exhibition closes at The Frick Pittsburgh, Isabelle’s work will continue to travel, next to Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, followed by Flint Institute of Arts and the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art.